More about surge protection

May 12, 2022

Power for Progress… a weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority.

May is National Electric Safety Month and the Grand River Dam Authority is pleased to join with the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to help inform and educate the public about important electric safety issues.

One of those issues involves power surges. A power surge (or transient voltage) is a sudden and unwanted increase in voltage. It’s unwanted because this sudden increase can damage or even destroy the sensitive electronic equipment that you have in our homes or business.

According to estimates from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), 60 to 80 percent of all electric surges are created within a facility, such as when large appliances, like air conditioners, turn on and off. Of course, the most powerful types of surges can be caused by Mother Nature, during times of intense lightning.

Fortunately, surge protection devices are available to help combat the problem. Some protect only the devices directly plugged into the surge protector. These types typically do not suppress or arrest a surge but rather divert it to ground. Many are available with indicator lights or alarms that let you know when the surge protector needs replacement.

Another type is a service entrance surge protection device. These can be mounted on your home or business’ main electric panel or at the base of the electric meter, where it can protect the entire system. They protect components, like outlets and light switches, that cannot be connected to a point-of-use surge protector.

However, it is important to remember that no surge protection device can handle a direct lightning strike. The best surge protection is to unplug devices from the wall during times of lightning, if you suspect a surge might be coming. Also, remember that simple power strips do not provide surge protection. Make sure you have the correct device for protection.

Your friends at the Grand River Dam Authority encourage you to always put safety first when it comes to electricity. For more helpful tips, visit

GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.